The shortbread cookie, the sugar cookie, and the gingerbread cookie are three classic cookies that stand in a class of their own. Most cookies can claim to be classics because they have been made regularly for decades or even a century. But, none come close to the legendary proliferation of these three simple cookie recipes.
The shortbread cookie has been made not for one century, but for many centuries, and in almost as many cultures as there are in western civilization. There are as many recipes for shortbread as their are dedicated cooks in the world. The shortbread cookie is the most basic of cookies, that was originally made with only three ingredients: flour, sugar, and fat. The tenderness and subtlety of a well made shortbread cookie inspires thoughts of favorite holidays, cold afternoons spent in the warmth of a loving home, and the simple delights of childhood.
The sugar cookie is a simple cookie that can withstand the rough treatment of a child without resembling the consistency of a brick. The subtly of a sugar cookie’s flavors are deceptive, first bursting onto the tongue in a rush of sweetness that quickly subsides to a gentle warm feeling in the mouth. The aftertaste of a well made sugar cookie lingers like a sweet invitation to take another bite. It beckons you to take just one more cookie from the plate.
The gingerbread cookie is stuff of dreams. Spicy and vivid in flavor, the gingerbread cookie has been used for hundreds of years, quite literally, as a structural confection to build houses, castles, and wintery, eatable landscapes. In it’s simplest form, the ginger snap, gingerbread has a simple exoticness that can spice up everyday life.
All three of these simple classic recipes, shortbread, sugar cookie, and gingerbread, can be made, chilled, and then rolled out to be cut with decorative cutters. However, their most basic, simple beauty is in their ability to be made as snap cookies. Quick, easy, and sinfully delicious, shortbread, gingerbread, and sugar cookies are the three kings of the cookie world.
1 cup butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with cooking parchment. Do not use greased cookie sheet. If you don’t have parchment leave bare.
Whip butter with wire whisk, electric mixer, or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Mix well until soft dough forms.
Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart. Bake in 375 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, until bottoms just begin to brown. Keep an eye on the edges to make sure they don’t burn. Let sit on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.
Recipe makes about 24 cookies.
Note: To use as a cutter recipe, divide shortbread dough into 2 balls, flattened, and wrapped in plastic. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or over night. Work with rolling pin to soften. Use lightly floured surface and cutters. Bake on parchment, or let cookies cool 5-10 minutes on cookie sheet before removing to racks.
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment or leave bare.
In small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
In large bowl or bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, stir. Using wire whisk, electric beater, or stand mixer whip until light and fluffy. Slowly add in dry mixture, beating well. Crumbly dough should form.
Measure out by spoonfuls; use hands to roll into balls. Place on parchment 2 inches apart.
Baking 375 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, or until just starting to brown on top. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Move to wire rack and let cool completely.
Recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Note: To use as a cutter recipe, divide sugar cookie dough into 2 balls, flattened, and wrapped in plastic. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or over night. Work with rolling pin to soften. Use lightly floured surface and cutters. Bake on parchment, let cookies cool 5-10 minutes on cookie sheet before removing to racks.
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup butter, unsalted, softened
1/2 granulated white sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup dark molasses, unsulphured
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment or lightly grease.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
Cream together butter and sugar; whip with wire whisk, electric mixer, or stand mixer until fluffy. Add the egg and molasses; beat until creamy. Slowly add dry mixture, mixing constantly. Beat until well combined and color is uniform.
Drop by spoonful onto parchment about 2 inches apart. Baking 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, until firm. For best results, press gingerbread cookies down with fork, in a cross-hatch,like a peanut butter cookie.
Recipe makes about 36 cookies.
Note: To use as a cutter recipe, divide ginger bread dough into 2 balls, flattened, and wrapped in plastic. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or over night. Work with rolling pin to soften. Use lightly floured surface and cutters. Bake on parchment, let cookies cool 5-10 minutes on cookie sheet before removing to racks.
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